Kingdom Hearts (universe)
|Kingdom Hearts (universe)|
|Developer(s)||Square Enix (formerly Squaresoft)|
|Publisher(s)||Square Enix (formerly Squaresoft)|
Disney Interactive Studios
Sony Computer Entertainment
Hack and slash
|Console/platform of origin||PlayStation 2|
|First installment||Kingdom Hearts (2002)|
|Latest installment||Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory (2020)|
|Article on Kingdom Hearts Wiki||Kingdom Hearts (universe)|
The Kingdom Hearts universe (キングダム ハーツ, Kingdom Hearts), stylized in-game as KINGDOM HEARTS, refers to the Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from the action role-playing game (ARPG) franchise created by Square Enix (formerly Squaresoft) in collaboration with Disney, the official owner of the franchise. The series primarily centers around the adventures of Sora, who travels across various worlds themed after properties owned by Disney and its subsidiaries while stopping schemes plotted by both original antagonists and Disney villains. Since the release of its first installment in 2002, the franchise has been one of the best-selling action RPG series in the world and is most notable for its crossing-over of Disney properties with various Square Enix properties, namely Final Fantasy, The World Ends with You, and Einhänder. Alongside Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, Kingdom Hearts is considered a flagship franchise for Square Enix.
The origins of Kingdom Hearts can be traced back to conversations between Squaresoft executive Shinji Hashimoto and Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi in the late 1990s. The developer was in a financially unstable position at the time and needed a blockbuster success to save them from going bankrupt. The two bemoaned about Square needing a game like Super Mario 64, but realizing only a company like Disney has characters that could rival the popularity of Mario. Final Fantasy character designer Tetsuya Nomura overheard these conversations and volunteered to create this project. By a stroke of luck, Square and Disney of Japan shared an office building at the time, and Hashimoto would have a chance encounter with a Disney executive in an elevator which allowed him to pitch the concept of using Disney properties in this game, which was eventually approved in 2000.
It was eventually decided that the game would be a crossover title with Disney and Final Fantasy characters interacting with original characters, however contention arose when settling on the game's premise and direction. The lead protagonist was undecided between the two companies, with Disney wanting Donald Duck and Square wanting Mickey Mouse. Nomura decided to compromise by creating an original character, Sora, to serve as the protagonist instead, combining Disney's character design aspects with his own. Disney approved the concept on the condition that all original characters, settings, and assets would be fully owned by them. The storyline and narrative would be helmed by Nomura, marking his debut as a director and lead writer, and it was originally planned to be a simple narrative meant to appeal to Disney's core audience. However, after a meeting with Sakaguchi, Nomura elevated the storyline to better appeal to Final Fantasy fans. The game eventually morphed into Kingdom Hearts, which released for the PlayStation 2 on March 28, 2002.
The game was a critical and financial success both in Japan and internationally, eventually becoming the tenth best-selling game on the system. The game is considered a major factor in the financial recovery of Square, which allowed them to merge with Enix in 2003. The release outside of Japan is notable for having content that was not in the initial release due to time constraints. The game received a Director's Cut re-release in Japan with this new content along with more content made specifically for this version, titled Kingdom Hearts Final Mix. This started a trend of games getting the Final Mix treatment, with most of them being exclusive to Japan for years. Due to the success of the first game’s sales, the real time aerial action RPG battle system of Kingdom Hearts became the main basis for some modern Final Fantasy games, particularly the arena fighting game spin-off series Dissidia Final Fantasy, and Final Fantasy XV. Similar aerial combat scenes are also shown in the animated spin-off follow up movie to Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children.
A sequel was immediately put into production. To tide fans over, an interquel was co-developed by Jupiter for the Game Boy Advance in 2004 titled Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories. The game experimented by having a card-based combat system that has been referenced but never replicated. Unlike other side projects, Chain of Memories is integral to the overall plot and is directly referenced in future installments. The game was fully remade in 2007 for PlayStation 2, titled Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, and this version has been re-released ever since.
Another side project for Verizon mobile phones titled Kingdom Hearts V CAST released in 2004. It is not considered canon and is one of the few entries not developed by Square Enix. The game can no longer be legally purchased after the shut down of the Verizon V CAST in 2012.
The proper sequel, Kingdom Hearts II, released on PlayStation 2 in 2005. The game picks up right after the events of Chain of Memories left off and received praise for improving on the first game in many ways. A Final Mix version was released in 2007 with new content.
Another mobile game was released in 2008 titled Kingdom Hearts coded. This game was released episodically over a year and exists to explain plot holes in Kingdom Hearts II. All episodes were later combined and released on Nintendo DS in 2011, titled Kingdom Hearts Re:coded. A web browser game tie in titled Kingdom Hearts Re:coded Gummiship Studio released as a studio to make a Gummi Ship. Around the same time, a mobile domain titled Kingdom Hearts Mobile was released and contained all episodes of coded as well as ringtones, wallpapers, and minigames. The site went defunct in 2013.
A proper console release came in 2009 with Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days (pronounced Three-Five-Eight Days Over Two). The game is based on the adventures of Roxas parallel to the events of Chain of Memories and explains plot holes in several games. A tie in web browser game titled Kingdom Hearts Magical Puzzle Clash released as a minigame collection.
A prequel entry titled Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep released on PlayStation Portable in 2010. Based on the adventures of Terra, Ventus, and Aqua, the game is set ten years before the events of the first game and explains plot mysteries that have persisted since the beginning. This game received the Final Mix treatment in 2011.
An entry for Nintendo 3DS titled Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance released in 2012 as part of the series's 10th anniversary, and was the first game since Kingdom Hearts II to properly advance the story. The game was remastered as Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD in 2017.
In 2013, a web browser game titled Kingdom Hearts χ[chi] was released as a prequel to every game released prior. The game was fully remade for mobile devices in 2015 titled Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ, which was renamed in 2017 to Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross]. A companion game was released in 2020, titled Kingdom Hearts Dark Road, that explains the origin of several characters. The games have since been shut down, but the cutscenes in theatre mode are still available to download.
In addition to Kingdom Hearts χ, 2013 brought forth the beginning of compiling the series in HD remaster collections. Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, and remade cutscenes of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days were compiled on PlayStation 3 as Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX. In 2014, HD remasters of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and remade cutscenes of Kingdom Hearts Re:coded were also collected on PlayStation 3 as Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX. In 2017, both collections were remastered again and combined on PlayStation 4 as Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX. That same year, Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance HD, an abbreviated cinematic adaptation of Kingdom Hearts χ titled Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover and an original entry titled Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- were collected on PlayStation 4 as Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. The two collections were then placed into another collection for the PlayStation 4 as one called Kingdom Hearts The Story So Far.
All the way back in 2013, a teaser trailer revealed Kingdom Hearts III to be in development, with Nomura admitting the game was announced to the public far too early. Development progress was slow and steady, as Nomura was also directing Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy VII Remake. Nomura ended up stepping down as director of Versus XIII due to him disagreeing with the direction the game was heading, which allowed him to focus more on the other two titles. Versus XIII eventually released in 2016, ten years after development started, as Final Fantasy XV.
Sporadic updates on Kingdom Hearts III occurred for many years after the initial reveal until it was finally released in early 2019 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This game's story marked the end to the Dark Seeker Saga, which had been going on since the first game. Also in 2019, Kingdom Hearts VR Experience released exclusively on PlayStation VR as a walking simulator of various worlds. The series's first official piece of downloadable content was released roughly one year later as Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind, which explains plot elements in the base game, reintroduces elements seen in Final Mixes, and opens the door to a brand new story arc for the franchise. Kingdom Hearts III would later be bundled with everything seen in the The Story So Far bundle and released as Kingdom Hearts All-In-One Package. A cloud version of this bundle with the edition of the Re Mind DLC, titled Kingdom Hearts Integrum Masterpiece, was revealed to be released on Nintendo Switch on October 5, 2021 during Sora's edition of Mr. Sakurai Presents, and was released on February 10, 2022.
A rhythm game released in 2020 titled Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory. It is also the first game in the series to appear on a Nintendo console since Dream Drop Distance eight years prior.
On April 10, 2022, it was announced at the 20th Anniversary Event that Kingdom Hearts IV is in development, alongside a mobile midquel set between Kingdom Hearts Union χ[Cross] and Kingdom Hearts Dark Road called Kingdom Hearts Missing-Link, with a closed beta test set to release in 2022. The existence of Kingdom Hearts IV was previously leaked in November, 2021 as part of a list of games leaked from Nvidia, but was officially announced in this event.
The Kingdom Hearts franchise also comprises several other media, including soundtracks, several different series of manga and light novels, Ultimania novels, and a cancelled television series, which had its archives recovered in October 2022.
Sora, along with the franchise, and barring Disney and Pixar-related content, would be revealed for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on October 5, 2021 as the last purchasable DLC character for both Fighters Pass Vol. 2 and the game overall. The crossover happened after many years of fans showing their support to the then unthinkable event. During the last Mr. Sakurai Presents video, it was explained that Sora was the most requested character in the Super Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot back in 2015, contrarily to Bayonetta who was the most requested character and realizable to include in Super Smash Bros. 4. In an interview featuring Tetsuya Nomura for the upcoming game Kingdom Hearts IV, he has commented on Sora's inclusion in Ultimate, which reveals Disney were supportive of adding him and the franchise in this game. After the agreement from Disney, Nomura was hesitating on adding Sora in Ultimate as he thought it would be tough to pull it up between both the franchise's lore and the Disney worlds, and Masahiro Sakurai's Super Smash Bros. series.
Likewise for Sakurai, he thought it was impossible to see it happen at first. However, he met by chance a higher-up at Disney during an awards show, which let him have the chance to ask about adding the franchise in Ultimate. During production, Sakurai had to make the reveal trailer with a set of rules given by supervisors from Disney and Square Enix, and by respecting Kingdom Hearts's lore.
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The Kingdom Hearts universe makes its highly-requested debut in Challenger Pack 11 as part of the Fighters Pass Vol. 2, in the form of a fighter, a stage, 10 music tracks (1 being obtainable with save data for Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory), and 13 spirits.
- 82. Sora (DLC): The highly-requested main character of the series was revealed as a playable character arrived as the seventh and final downloadable newcomer of the Fighters Pass Vol. 2. He is the last character to be added in Ultimate overall and released along with Hollow Bastion, 10 music tracks, and several spirits on October 18th, 2021.
- Hollow Bastion (DLC): Hollow Bastion released alongside Sora as part of the final Challenger Pack. When time, stocks or health are running low, it turns into Dive to the Heart. The layout is the same, but the background changes, featuring numerous artistic designs from the series.
- Night of Fate (DLC)
- Destiny's Force (DLC)
- Shrouding Dark Cloud (DLC)
- Hand in Hand (DLC)
- Blast Away! -Gummi Ship II- (DLC)
- Hollow Bastion (DLC)
- Scherzo di Notte (DLC)
- Fragments of Sorrow (DLC)
- Destati (DLC)
- Dearly Beloved -Swing Version- (DLC): This track is unlocked for players that have save data from Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory.
- Victory! Sora (DLC): Sora's victory theme is an arrangement of Hand in Hand, arranged by the original composer Yoko Shimomura.
Hikari -KINGDOM Orchestra Instrumental Version-, an orchestral version of the theme song from the original Kingdom Hearts, appears in Sora's reveal trailer.
Media with elements appearing in the Super Smash Bros. series
The Kingdom Hearts universe has media represented throughout the Super Smash Bros. series with a total of 13 games and medias. The latest game represented in this universe is Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, released on November 11, 2020.
- Playable characters:
- Sora debuts in this game as the main playable character.
- Sora's design for his default costume is sourced from this game.
- Takahiro Sakurai, Cloud's Japanese voice actor, reprises his role in all regions of Smash 4 and Ultimate.
- Although derived from the title of his battle theme in Final Fantasy VII, "One-Winged Angel", Sephiroth's one wing debuted in this game.
- Shadow Flare is based on the Kingdom Hearts incarnation.
- Hollow Bastion: The stage originates from this game.
- Stage elements:
- In the Dive to the Heart section, Riku, Kairi, and Ansem, Seeker of Darkness appear as background characters.
- "Dearly Beloved -Swing Version-": The original version of "Dearly Beloved" comes from this game.
- "Hikari -KINGDOM Orchestra Instrumental Version-": Plays during the opening credits. Used for Sora's reveal trailer on October 5, 2021, although it is not available in the game.
- "Destati": Sourced directly from this game. Used in the opening scene.
- "Night of Fate": A recurring song that first appears in this game.
- "Destiny's Force": A recurring song that first appears in this game.
- "Shrouding Dark Cloud": A recurring boss theme that first appears in this game.
- "Hand in Hand": A recurring song that first appears in this game. Most commonly the battle theme for Traverse Town.
- "Victory! Sora": An arrangement of "Hand in Hand".
- "Blast Away! -Gummi Ship II-": Heard during the Gummi Ship routes between Agrabah, Monstro, Atlantica, Halloween Town, and Neverland in this game. It is used for Sora's credits theme.
- "Hollow Bastion": The main theme for the eponymous location, which first appears in this game.
- "Scherzo di Notte": Most commonly the battle theme for Hollow Bastion.
- "Fragments of Sorrow": First used as the battle theme for End of the World, but most commonly used for Dive to the Heart scenes. Was used in Sora's reveal trailer.
- Aerith's retranslated name is canonized in this game.
- Kingdom Hearts's series symbol is taken from the three pointed crown, which first appeared in this game.
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
- Playable characters:
- Sora's down air, Hurricane Blast, first originated in this title.
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories
- Stage elements:
- In the Dive to the Heart section, Naminé appears as a background character.
- Axel appears as a spirit.
Kingdom Hearts II
- Playable characters:
- Stage elements:
- Roxas appears as a spirit.
- Sora (Kingdom Hearts II) and Sora (Timeless River) use artwork from this game.
Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix
- Stage elements:
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
- Xion appears as a spirit. Axel uses artwork from this game.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
- Stage elements:
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
- Playable characters:
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX
- "Night of Fate": Sourced directly from this game.
- "Destiny's Force": Sourced directly from this game.
- "Shrouding Dark Cloud": Sourced directly from this game.
- "Hand in Hand": Sourced directly from this game.
- "Blast Away! -Gummi Ship II-": Sourced directly from this game.
- "Hollow Bastion": Sourced directly from this game.
- "Scherzo di Notte": Sourced directly from this game.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX
- "Fragments of Sorrow": Sourced directly from this game.
Kingdom Hearts III / Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind
- Playable characters:
- Stage elements:
Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory
- "Dearly Beloved -Swing Version-": The arranged version of "Dearly Beloved" is sourced from this game.
- Kingdom Hearts is the first crossover series to be primarily featured in a Super Smash Bros. title, itself being a crossover as well.
- Though Terry's inclusion very much also represents The King of Fighters, he primarily represents the Fatal Fury series.
- Kingdom Hearts is the third major universe to be owned by a foreign company, being owned by Disney, an American company. The first two, Banjo-Kazooie and Minecraft, are both owned by Microsoft. Unlike the previous two, however, Kingdom Hearts is mainly developed in Japan.
- Although characters from several Disney films play major parts in the Kingdom Hearts games, there are no references to these characters in Smash other than the Hidden Mickey keychain on Sora's Keyblade.
- Kingdom Hearts is the third third-party universe in Smash to debut in the 21st century, following Bayonetta and Minecraft.
- Kingdom Hearts is the only major universe primarily published by Square Enix to not have any Mii Fighter costumes in Smash.
- Star Fox, Fire Emblem, Metal Gear, and Kingdom Hearts are the only universes to not feature dubs other than English, in addition to Final Fantasy, and Dragon Quest who do not have English dubs, in the Super Smash Bros. series. In this case, Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II introduced French, Spanish, and German dubs.
- The Kingdom Hearts series holds a strong connection to the numbers seven and thirteen. A full list can be found here, but as an example, a pivotal plot point established in Dream Drop Distance and Kingdom Hearts III is Xehanort's goal of uniting seven "lights" and thirteen "darknesses" to forge the legendary χ-blade, with the Real Organization XIII as the thirteen darknesses and the Seven Guardians of Light as the seven lights. These numeric connections are heavily connected to and referenced in Sora's inclusion in Ultimate:
- Sora was released in update 13.0.0, which was released thirteen days after his reveal, and included thirteen new spirits (five fighter spirits based on his various appearances, and eight from the rest of the Kingdom Hearts series).
- When counting Pyra and Mythra as separate fighters, Sora is the seventh fighter of Fighters Pass Vol. 2 and Ultimate's thirteenth DLC fighter overall.
- Hollow Bastion features seven different stained glass character portraits known as Stations.
- ^ Kimberley Wallace (June 14, 2022). Nomura Reveals More On Kingdom Hearts IV And The Series' Future With Final Fantasy. Retrieved on June 14, 2022.
- ^ Brian Ashcraft (October 21, 2021). Masahiro Sakurai Explains How Sora Came To Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Retrieved on June 14, 2022.
- ^ https://kotaku.com/sora-s-smash-reveal-forgot-to-bring-the-disney-1847803373
- Article on the Disney Wiki.
|Kingdom Hearts universe|
|Related universe||Final Fantasy|